Working With a Book Cover Designer

Blog 27Last post in my series of blogs on how to self-publish, I wrote about what a book cover design should achieve. As an author, to get the best result for your cover, it’s useful to know some tips about the process of working with a designer. I’m assuming here you’ve hired someone to create original art for your cover.

First off, if you’re expecting your designer to read your book as part of the design process, don’t. She’s unlikely to have the time (or interest), and depending on the schedule for your book release, your manuscript might not be in proper shape anyway.

Instead, be ready with a good, short synopsis, preferably written. Also, be clear about the book’s genre, mood and tone, perhaps comparing them to those of well-known books.

Next, have some ideas ready for her. In my first book, The Case for Killing, an abandoned railway track features (have a look at my post about it). My designer ran with the idea, and came up with five designs for it. Take some time at a book store to see what the current trends in book design are.

Now, be aware as an author that your designer might resist your ideas. Yes, I know, we understand our book best. However, sometimes we’re just too close and lose perspective. Listen to your designer’s ideas for your cover. A good designer knows the book market well and has experience with many other covers. You could be much better off following her ideas.

After exchanging ideas with your designer, what you’ll get back is a work-up of two or three designs for each idea. It can be hard to pick. Leave yourself enough time to deliberate, and get input from others.

After you select a basic design, to hone in on the final product, there’s lots of work with details like colours, type font and size, and image positioning. The details can be maddening for both the author and designer. Again, leave the proper time.

Two final points. In the world of eBooks, you need to be sure that your book design looks good online as a thumbnail. Think big type and catching colours here.

At the same time, you may offer your book in print. So also ask your designer to help with a snappy look for the spine and back cover of your book.

Above all, enjoy the process. Your book is coming to life!

Copyright ©2014 Peter Fritze

Buy The Case for Killing here (Canada) or here (U.S.).

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